Observational Methods and Tasks
The New Parents Project is a multi-method, longitudinal study with a strong focus on observational techniques. These techniques are the key to our strong, high quality data.
Surveys, interviews, and observational methods are used across four different phases. The first assessment for couples participating in The New Parents Project occurs during the third trimester, the next three assessments occur at 3, 6, and 9 months after the birth.
Phase 1- The Third Trimester
Couples are first interviewed individually in the form of a time diary (a record of every activity in a recent workday and non-workday) and a penny sort (measuring the participants' commitments to various roles in their lives.)
The order of the next two videotaped tasks is randomly assigned by flipping a coin. The two tasks the couples perform together are called MAP and LTP.
MAP- Marital Agendas Protocol
Couples rate the severity of a listed set of problems in their relationship, and then discuss the one they agree is the most significant. A video example and more information can be found by following the MAP link below.
LTP-Lausanne Trilogue Play
A semi-structured procedure in which parents are seated across from their infant (a baby doll with an undefined face) and are asked to play together in four stages. A video example and more information can be found by following the LTP link below.
At the second phase, couples are interviewed individually and together complete the MAP and several additional videotaped tasks with their child. The order of all these interactions is randomized by a coin toss.
One task is the Parent-child play. Each parent is asked to play with their baby alone for 5 minutes. This play is broken into two parts:
- Parent playing with child alone
- Parent playing with child while partner observes
After 5 minutes, the couple switches roles and repeats the process. A video example and more information can be found by following the Parent-Child Play link below.
After completeting the Parent-Child play, the parents and child interact together in a Triadic Play. Parents are asked to play together with their baby for 5 minutes. A video example and more information can be found by following the Triadic Play link below.
Parents are given an infant bodysuit and are asked to change their infant’s clothes together. They are told to pick their roles, for one parent will undress the child, and the other will dress the infant in the onesie provided. A video example and more information can be found by following the Onesie link below.
Phase 3- Sixth Month Postpartum
This assessment is different from the previous two phases. To lessen the burden on new parents, couples only complete written surveys and a short phone time-diary interview.
Phase 4- Ninth Month Postpartum
The nine months postpartum assessment will take place at COSI (the Center of Science and Industry). Parents will complete a set of videotaped interactions. Each parent will play with their infant individually, and then they will participate in two tasks together with their child. As in the previous phases, parents will also complete the time-diary interview and the penny role sort.
Phase 4 interactions began last August- more information coming in Spring 2010